Mia Wasikowska delivers a masterful performance in this exploration of one woman’s nine-month journey across the harsh, isolating Australian Outback.
In 1978, photographs of Australian writer and explorer Robyn Davidson appeared on the cover of National Geographic with the accompanying headline “alone across the Outback”. That 2,700km journey with camels captured the imagination of people across the world and spawned a best-selling novel, Tracks, which is the basis for director John Curran’s film of the same name. Mia Wasikowska plays Davidson, delivering a largely solo performance with long stretches of time without anything to act with except herself, the harsh Australian landscape, and the camels (of course). Adam Driver as photographer Rick Smolan and Rolley Mintuma as Aboriginal Elder Mr Eddy are her occasional scene partners, but Tracks succeeds largely thanks to Wasikowska’s promise as one of the finest actors of her generation being fulfilled.
The other star is behind the camera, with Mandy Walker’s cinematography able to capture the isolation of the setting while never isolating the audience itself, bringing them with Robyn on her journey which is as much about escaping people as it is finding herself. Relying mostly on natural light to tell Robyn’s story, Walker won Best Cinematography awards from the Australian Cinematographers Society and the Film Critics Circle of Australia in 2014.